These mini treats can be just as meaningful as a classic tiered wedding cake.
Credit: Kat Braman

Cupcakes make people happy. They're cute, easy to handle, and so much fun to eat. "Cupcakes are popular because brides can choose several different flavors for their guests to enjoy," says Anna Echols, owner/baker of One Belle Bakery in Wilmington, North Carolina. "When they're decorated to match the flavor, they look so enticing it's hard to resist!" If you're thinking of going the cupcake route for your big-day dessert, you won't be disappointed. Here, we share everything you need to know about serving cupcakes at your wedding reception.

Cupcakes are often more affordable than a cake.

With a wedding cake, a baker spends days creating her masterpiece, from crafting sugar flowers by hand to installing dowels to keep the layers from sinking. Cupcakes, on the other hand, are beautiful but less labor-intensive, which brings down the price; mini cupcakes are even less expensive.

You can customize the whole thing.

A custom cupcake is the ultimate in personalizing the wedding. The baker chats with the couple about what flavors they like and dislike, and goes about creating an original combo of flavor, filling, and frosting.

Bakers can do more than just red velvet.

While red velvet, lemon, and chocolate cupcakes are still awesomely delicious and popular, bakers have gone far beyond the classics and now offer magnificent creations, like One Belle Bakery's Southern Kiss cupcake, a wedding favorite. "It's a vanilla cake with amaretto syrup, filled with amaretto custard and topped with an almond buttercream swirl," says Echols. Another popular choice for her brides and grooms is a lemon cupcake filled with a lavender-lemon custard and topped with a whipped lavender buttercream and lemon zest.

Decorations are fun.

Just as there are a gazillion flavors, fillings, and frostings, there are also a gazillion ways to decorate a cupcake. Besides the ever-popular sugar flowers, brides and grooms often choose fondant hearts made with a cookie cutter and rubber-stamped with a monogram, Swiss meringue blossoms, candies, miniature flags printed with the wedding date, and gold glitter. Echols also suggests using colorful liners to give cupcakes even more flourish.

There's more than one way to display them.

There are tons of ways to show off your mini cakes during the reception. The classic way is to stack them on a round or square multi-tiered cardboard or glass stand. For something different, use a stand that has open shelves or stack three pedestal cake stands in three different sizes (small on top, medium in the middle, large on bottom). Cupcakes can even be placed on the rungs of a small wooden ladder for a rustic vibe.

You'll need to order more than your number of guests.

Some guests won't indulge but others will eat more than one, especially if you're offering multiple flavors, so order 1.5 full-size cupcake per person, says Echols. If there are any left, they're easy enough to pack up and take home (and make a great late-night snack!).

You can still make a ceremonial cut.

Though some brides and grooms purposely serve cupcakes so they don't have to deal with the spectacle of cutting a wedding cake, if you like the tradition, grab a cupcake and knife and go at it!


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